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IJRET: International Journal of Research in Engineering and Technology

eISSN: 2319-1163 | pISSN: 2321-7308


Khanjan N. Jariwala1

Department of Electrical Engineering, Charotar University of science and Technology, Changa, Gujarat, India

Power cable as one of the main components of power networks, play an important role in electric power transmission between
different zones. In cable, stress will maximum nearer to the surface of the conductor and it will get decreases as we move away from
core to outer sheath. So, dielectric will be unnecessarily strong and expensive. Moreover, in cable insulation system, due to presence
of pollutant such as air voids, water voids and also occurrence of water treeing phenomena, local field increases. As a result,
enhancing electric field may cause to local breakdown in cable insulation. The presence of water within the insulation material can
only lead to forming water trees if a sufficient electric field exists which may shorten life of cable. In this thesis, Finite element method
is used to computing and evaluating of the electric field in the power cable by considering to existence of water particle and air void
inside the polyethylene insulation. For equal stress distribution, grading methods are also considered. For all this purpose FEMM
software is used for modeling. The results indicate that the stress is influenced by the void permittivity, shape of void, sharpness of
void and also void position. By providing grading of the cable we can equally distribute the stress along the cable insulation.

Keywords Cable grading, FEMM, Finite element method, cavity

-----------------------------------------------------------------------***---------------------------------------------------------------------1. INTRODUCTION


Cables are one of the important equipment used in power

networks and industrial factories. High voltage cables are used
for transmission and distribution of electric power. Cables are
generally used for underground application. In present scenario,
XLPE is used increasingly as an insulating material because of
its more advantageous over other materials. The insulation of
cable has to continuous withstood electrical, thermal as well as
mechanical stress. If this stress exceeds its limit, it may
damage the cable. Electric insulation is main part of power
cable and its quality affects the expected life [1]. In addition to
this issue, other factor such as partial discharge, impurity,
roughness, cavities and space charge will affect the insulation
life time [2-4]. Critical field of Paschen is calculated [3]. The
electrical stress is highest at surface of the core and it is highest
at inner radius of the sheath. So, there will be large difference
between maximum and minimum stress in insulation. So, as a
result we can say that dielectric material will not fully utilize.
For uniform stress distribution, grading of cable is used. One of
the major problems, which shorten the life of high voltage
cable, is presence of water or void or cavity inside the
insulation material of the cable. By the presence of such
pollutant, stress in the insulation increase very much at that
particular point and may get leads to breakdown of the
insulation. So analysis of this stress in this insulation is
necessary to get idea about the life of the cable. Stress analysis
using the defect like water bubble or void or cavity is carried
out in this work.

One of the most important problems in high voltage

engineering is electric field calculation which requires solution
of Laplace and Poisson equations. In Past studies, electric field
is introduced as a source of corona around conductor imperfect
partial discharge ad early insulation fatigue. In order to study
the effect of cavity inside insulation of cable spherical cavity
with radius rc radius is considered inside insulation with R
radius. Internal and External electric field of cylindrical cavity
is calculated via following equation (1-2),
0 r 2c
0 r 2c
E (r) E0 ir 1 r
. 2 cos i 1 r

r 0 r
r 0 r 2

for r>rc... (1)

E (r) E0 (

2 0
) i cos i sin
r 0 r
for 0<r<rc....................... (2)

In these equations (1-2), cavity surface conductivity as a factor

affecting on electric field intensity, is neglected. But most of
the time non linear environment and problem geometry are so
complicated that analytical solution is so hard. Due to this
reason, researches tried to find new calculating methods to
obtain electric field. FEM has increasingly developed in this
context. Electric field equations solution by this method is
based on Maxwell equations with boundary conditions.

Volume: 03 Issue: 04 | Apr-2014, Available @


IJRET: International Journal of Research in Engineering and Technology

In practice, cavities have irregular shapes and thus analytical

solutions for such non-ideal voids are impossible. But
numerical solutions can be obtained by solving Maxwells
equation with appropriate boundary conditions.





eISSN: 2319-1163 | pISSN: 2321-7308


4.1 Influence of Cavity Position on Electric Field





Due to singularity point at the corner of a cavity, the analytical
method can not be used without simplifying assumptions [5].
In this section, we represent different conditions of cavity
presence in single core cable as shown in fig (1) by using
FEMM software to calculate electric field. High voltage cable
cross section is as under,
Fig 2: Electric field distribution without cavity

Fig 3: Cable with six cavities

Fig 1 Cross section of cable under study
|E|, V/m

Other technical characteristics of the cable is shown in table-1,



Table 1: Cable characteristics under study


Cable Characteristics



Rated Voltage



Number of Core

Area of conductor


Radius of conductor

1.30 cm

Overall diameter

7 cm

Water permittivity
Air permittivity






Length, cm

Fig 4: Field distribution in presence of cavity at different

locations (Axially)
In this section, in order to study cavity position impact on cable
electric field, we first simulate cable without any cavity. Then
we will simulate for a case when 6 cavities having radius 0.05
mm, are located radial inside cable insulation by equal distance.
Fig-2 shows in absence of cavity, electric field decreases
logarithmically along insulation section. Fig-3 shows that
cavity near to the cable conductor has more electric field value
in comparison to that of a cavity located near cable insulation
surface. In this study we want to evaluate electric field value in

Volume: 03 Issue: 04 | Apr-2014, Available @


IJRET: International Journal of Research in Engineering and Technology

side cable under various conditions and we neglect Partial

discharge phenomena.

eISSN: 2319-1163 | pISSN: 2321-7308

|E|, V/m


4.2 Influence of the Shape of the Cavity


In this section we want to study the effect of air cavity shape on

electric field of the cable. It is supposed that geometric shape of
cavity is cylindrical, spherical and elliptical and it is located
inside cable insulation. Now if we convert 3-D model of a
cavity shape in to 2-D model as a result cylindrical cavity
would be rectangle, spherical cavity would be circle. We will
do simulation for all three cavities.
Table 2: Maximum electrical stress for various cavity shapes
Cavity Shape




From table -2, it infers that electric field enhancement is highest

for cylindrical cavity than spherical or elliptical cavity. So, it is
more likely to initiation partial discharge in this case.

4.3 Influence of Dielectric Medium

In this section we will study effect of permittivity of material in
electric field variation. For that two kinds of cavities will be
Fig-5 shows electric field distribution when air cavity occurs at
the middle of the cable. It is inferred that in case of air cavity,
electric field will drastically enhanced. It is due to permittivity
difference. Same as this, electric field is also enhanced as
shown in fig-6 in case for cavity having water partials at the
|E|, V/m







Length, cm

Fig 5: Electric field distribution with water cavity






Length, cm

Fig 6: Cable with water cavity (permittivity=81)

Fig-5 and Fig-6 shows that Electric field inside water cavity is
decreased drastically because water permittivity coefficient is
33 times more than that of cable insulation.

4.4 Influence of Sharpness of Cavity

In this section we will see the effect of sharpness of cavity. For
that we will consider elliptical cavity and we will change its
Table 3: Max field stress for different arc angles
Arc Angle
For 100degree
For 120degree
For 130 degree
For 140 degree

Maximum Field stress(V/m)


Results from upper table-3 infer that as we increase arc angle

from 100 to 140 degrees, electric field enhancement is increases

Analytical method can calculate the mean stress in the void.
However, the field distribution in the vicinity of a void of nonstandard shape is difficult to calculate by analytical method. In
this study, the results show the important influence of shape of
void on electric stress within it. As it well Known, the stress in
the void cavity is enhanced and this is an important
consideration for PD activity. The cavity stress enhancement
increase as permittivity of dielectric increase. Stress
enhancement is grater for cavity nearer to the surface of the
conductor. Moreover, electric field inside void is also function
of its edge sharpness. As its sharpness increases, electric field
enhancement is also increases. Also results show that electric
field is a function of cavity shape. According to result obtained,
electric field inside cylindrical cavity is higher than that of
spherical one and in spherical cavity is higher than elliptical

Volume: 03 Issue: 04 | Apr-2014, Available @


IJRET: International Journal of Research in Engineering and Technology

eISSN: 2319-1163 | pISSN: 2321-7308

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Volume: 03 Issue: 04 | Apr-2014, Available @